History majors at Central have access to a wide array of courses covering all aspects of world history, including United States, European, Middle Eastern, Asian, African and Latin American. The department offers a wide-ranging curriculum covering multiple time periods, and professors bring added insight into the classroom through their personal research specialties. Graduates are thoroughly prepared for professional life and advanced study in a variety of disciplines.
A history major at Central can be combined with other majors; some students choose to minor in history, which adds depth and context to their major. As one of the most relevant majors in the liberal arts, history provides a context for understanding ourselves, our field of study and our world.
No matter what your interests, Central has a student group or organization for you. Student groups of interest for history majors include History Club and Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.
Senior Katie Zellmer restored a historical WWI flag for the State Historical Society in Des Moines.
Central’s broad range of history courses covers all time periods from the classic to modern era, as well as diversity of the world’s regions. Students may take courses in Middle Eastern, Asian, African and Latin American history, plus courses in United States and European history.
The research interests of Central’s history faculty contribute to the breadth and depth of the department’s course offerings—military history, political history and popular culture (including a historical perspective on sports, movies and music).
Prospective students sometimes wonder what careers are open to history majors. Central’s history major offers a Public History Emphasis which exposes students to museums, archives, academic and corporate libraries and other fields that utilize the work of historians. An internship is strongly recommended in this program.
All students are encouraged to study abroad with Central College to enhance their development as global citizens. History majors are particularly encouraged to study abroad because of the opportunities to visit historical sites that are otherwise only accessible through pictures in textbooks, and because of resume-building internship opportunities. Academic opportunities and internship programs also are available in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and New York City.
Recently, Professor Mark Barloon, several students and alumnus Tom Gaard worked with the Pella Historical Museum and Scholte House doing research on Pella and Marion County in the Civil War, as part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the war.
Additionally, history classes include opportunities for students to experience the past firsthand. Central students have toured Civil War battlefields in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Mississippi, and enjoyed behind-the-scenes access at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum and the National WWI Museum. Students have also toured, studied and worked at the State Historical Society of Iowa and Living History Farms.
History classes meet in historic Jordan Hall, which has been updated to meet the needs of today’s students.
Twenty-three students turned full-time researchers this summer. They investigated bats, bees, polymers, criminal sentencing and more — and received research grants to do it!
When Kenneth Quinn landed in Vietnam, he was sure someone would try to kill him immediately. Quinn, a civilian officer in 1967, remembers, “I was so pleased when that didn’t happen.”
Eight Central students completed their spring semester with a field trip to Peru this summer.